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QATAR – THE IDEAL EVENTS DESTINATION – MBB’s Tesi Baur speaks with Ahmed AlObaidli

Ahmed AlObaidli, Director of Exhibitions at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA)

Tesi Baur: Ahmed AlObaidli, as Director of Exhibitions at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), you must have a busy working life. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you get up to on a daily basis?

Ahmed AlObaidli: As Director of Exhibitions at QTA, I am responsible for leading QTA’s team of specialists to grow and diversify Qatar’s business events sector – this is part of our overall strategy to increase the number of business visitors to Qatar.

Through our daily activities, my team and I work to attract world-class events to Qatar by maximising the country’s presence in international expos and associations. We are also responsible for empowering local members of the sector to bid for and stage events of the highest standard, by providing them with training and on-the-ground support.

Tesi Baur: What is special about Qatar as a place to organise trade shows? 

Ahmed AlObaidli: Professional event planners are always looking for new destinations and Qatar is taking the right steps to position the country as an attractive destination for business events in the region.

In addition to authentic tourism experiences, the country offers active knowledge hubs, a high safety record, growing event management services, exhibition capacity of 70,000 square metres and an extensive transport network. What’s more, its strategic location at the crossroads of east and west is easily accessible – this is thanks to the visa waiver system, which makes it the most open country in the region, and also the award-winning national carrier connecting Doha to over 150 key business and leisure destinations across six continents.

Tesi Baur: Tell us more about the exhibition venues. What can an exhibition organiser expect? 

Ahmed AlObaidli:  Qatar’s largest venues are the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) and the more recently opened Doha Exhibition and Conference Center (DECC), both of which offer exhibition organisers state-of-the-art facilities and great flexibility to tailor the venue to their needs.

Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC)

Built as one of the world’s most sophisticated convention and exhibition centres, QNCC is ideal for hosting a range of events. The venue features a multi-purpose 4,000-seat conference hall, 2,300-seat theatre, and 3 auditoria among a number of meeting spaces.

QNCC offers 40,000 square metres of column-free exhibition space over 9 halls, which are adaptable to provide seating for 10,000 delegates for a conference or banquet.

Their accolades include:

  • Gold certification– U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED)
  • Best Events Venue– Middle East Event Awards 2013
  • Middle East’s Leading Exhibition & Convention Centre– World Travel Awards 2014

Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC)

Conveniently located in the centre of Doha’s commercial district, DECC is a few minutes away from both the Corniche waterfront and many of Qatar’s five-star hotels and is only 20 minutes away from the airport by car. Opened in 2015, it covers an area of 29,000 square metres to include five vast, pillar-free halls, capable of seating over 34,000 visitors at one time. Its facilities include a mobile modular wall system, high-tech meeting and conference rooms, an exquisite VIP hosting suite and a vast underground parking area.

The building’s 18-metre high ceiling is the highest in the Middle East and is supported by a revolutionary cantilever roof, meaning the whole space is pillar-free, making it more versatile than many other standard exhibition halls.

Tesi Baur: Finally, please tell us something about Qatar that people might not know. 

Ahmed AlObaidli: Qatar is a destination for scientists and researchers, who are not just looking for a place to meet, but also a place where they can continue to learn, share knowledge and experience something new, outside the walls of a conference hall.

Qatar is the most open country in our region – we welcome the world to experience a unique destination where cultural authenticity meets modern life; where Arabian sands meet the sea; and where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in business, sports, culture and family entertainment.

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